The Anonymous Widower

Trimode Class 93 Locomotives Ordered By Rail Operations (UK)

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Stadler and Rail Operations (UK) Ltd have signed a framework agreement for the supply of 30 Class 93 trimode locomotives, with an initial batch of 10 scheduled for delivery in early 2023.

Note that the order may have been a long time coming, but it is now for thirty locomotives. In this article on Rail Magazine from December 2018, which is entitled Rail Operations Fuels its Ambitions With Tri-Mode Class 93s, only ten locomotives were to be ordered.

A Few More Details

This article on Rail Engineer, which is entitled, Re-Engineering Rail Freight, gives a few more details about the operation of the Class 93 locomotives.

It says this about operation in electric mode.

In electric mode, the batteries are charged when braking or from the transformer. As the batteries use the space occupied by the braking resistors in the Class 88, when the batteries are fully charged, the locomotive has only its friction brake.

This about operation in diesel-hybrid mode.

In diesel/battery hybrid mode, the batteries are charged both as the train brakes and by the diesel engine when it is not operating under full load. When the train accelerates, the batteries give it the extra power needed to get up to speed. This is a significant benefit as accelerating a freight train of over 1,000 tonnes up to its operating speed can take several minutes.

This is said about the batteries and their effect on performance.

It has two Lithium Titanate Oxide liquid-cooled battery packs, which have a rapid charge and discharge rate. These each have a 40kWh capacity with a peak power of 200kW. Thus, whilst the train is accelerating, the Class 93 will have a peak power of 1,300kW for up to ten minutes, which is almost twice that of a Class 88 in diesel mode.

The batteries would appear to be quite small when you consider, that Vivarail are talking about 424 KWh in one of their Class 230 trains.

This is said about performance.

As a result, the 86-tonne Class 93 is capable of hauling 1,500 tonnes on non-electrified routes and 2,500 tonnes on electrified routes. With a route availability (RA) of seven, it can be used on most of the rail network.

It may not be the largest of locomotives, but it could have a very high performance.

I have a few thoughts.

Regenerative Braking Performance

The Rail Engineer  article says this about the Class 93 locomotive.

  • The train has a total of 80 kWh of battery storage to store braking energy.
  • The locomotive weighs 86 tonnes
  • It can haul 1,500 tonnes on non-electrified lines.

Using a train weight of 1586 tonnes and Omni’s Kinetic Energy Calculator, gives a kinetic energy of 8 kWh at 42.6 mph.

Does this mean that the locomotive is designed to trundle around the countryside at around forty mph?

These are timings from Real Time Trains.

  • Haughley Junction and Ely – 40 miles – 60 minutes – 40 mph
  • Werrington Junction and Doncaster – 86 miles – 130 minutes – 40 mph
  • Werrington Junction and Nuneaton – 67 miles – 123 minutes – 32.7 mph
  • Southampton and Oxford – 74 miles – 120 minutes – 37 mph

There will be savings compared to the current diesel timings, with a Class 93 locomotive.

  • Either side of these sections, the locomotive can use electric power to cut pollution, noise and carbon emissions.
  • Stops and starts on sections without electrification will save diesel and cut carbon emissions.
  • The train will be faster on electrified sections.

I also feel that with its smaller diesel engine, it will be able to maintain similar timings to current trains hauled by Class 66, Class 68 and Class 70 locomotives.

It can haul 2,500 tonnes on non-electrified lines.

Assuming a train weight of 2586 tonnes, the train energy at various speeds is as follows.

  • 40 mph – 114 kWh
  • 60 mph – 258 kWh
  • 80 mph – 459 kWh
  • 100 mph – 718 kWh
  • 110 mph – 868 kWh

Am I right to assume that once the batteries are full, the regenerative braking energy can be returned through the catenary to power other trains?

Operation With 750 VDC Third Rail Electrification

Will some locomotives be fitted with third-rail shoes to work into and out of Southampton?

They would not need to use diesel between and Basingstoke.

Access To Ports And Rail Freight Terminals

I recently wrote Rail Access To The Port Of Felixstowe.

Looking in detail at Felixstowe and how trains will serve the port, this was my conclusion.

I very much feel, that the specification of the Class 93 locomotive with its trimode capability is ideal for working to and from ports and freight terminals.

Looking at the specification, I am certain, that these locomotives can haul a heavy freight train out of Felixstowe on diesel, with help from the batteries.

  • The distance without electrification is around fifteen miles.
  • It takes around thirty minutes.
  • It is fairly flat Suffolk countryside with the possible exception of the climb over Spring Road Viaduct.

The batteries would need to be charged and surely in Felixstowe’s case the best way would be to electrify the two single track access routes between Trimley station and the Port.

  • On leaving, the trains would pass Trimley with full batteries.
  • They could also be at line speed after accelerating using the two miles or so of electrification.
  • They could also enter the Port with full batteries, after charging the batteries on the short length of electrification.

The batteries may be large and powerful enough, to enable diesel free operations in the Port.

Does this partially explain the increase in the order for Class 93 locomotives? There’s not really been a genuine Last-Mile locomotive in the UK before.

Enabling Carbon-Free Ports And Rail Freight Terminals

Regularly, I read reports of ports wanting to do carbon-free.

Class 93 locomotives can help the process, by not using their diesel engines in ports and rail freight terminals.

It might just need a short length of electrification between the port or terminal and the main line, to make sure batteries are fully-charged.

But not at London Gateway!

This Google Map shows the couple of kilometres of track without electrification, that connects London Gateway to the electrified route through East Tilbury station.

London Gateway would appear to be ready for low or possibly zero-carbon access, using Class 93 locomotives.

High Speed Freight Trains

Consider.

  • These Class 93 locomotives will have an operating speed of 110 mph, when running on electrified lines.
  • Currently, many multimode freight trains run at speeds of under 90 mph, as Class 66 locomotives don’t have the power to go faster and the wagons carrying the containers have a lower speed limit.

So with new or refurbished wagons capable of travelling at 110 mph, there will be speed improvements in some containerised freight.

As an example of what happens on the UK rail network, at the present time, I have found a freight train that goes between Felixstowe and Coatbridge near Glasgow,

  • The route is via Ipswich, London, The North London Line and the West Coast Main Line.
  • It can weigh 1600 tonnes.
  • The distance is 483 miles.
  • The service takes around 16 hours.
  • With the exception of between Felixstowe and Ipswich, the route is fully electrified.

I estimate that if this service could run at up to 100 mph on the Great Eastern Main Line and up to 110 mph on the West Coast Main Line, that several hours could be saved.

Electrification Gap Bridging

As I indicated earlier, I believe these Class 93 locomotives will be able to haul a freight train out of Felixstowe to the electrified Great Eastern Main Line.

In Thoughts On A Battery/Electric Replacement For A Class 66 Locomotive, I gave a list of typical gaps in the electrification in the UK.

  • Didcot and Birmingham – Around two-and-a-half hours
  • Didcot and Coventry – Just under two hours
  • Felixstowe and Ipswich – Around an hour
  • Haughley Junction and Peterborough – Around two hours
  • Southampton and Reading – Around one-and-a-half hours
  • Werrington Junction and Doncaster via Lincoln – Around two hours
  • Werrington Junction and Nuneaton – Just under two hours

How many of these gaps could be bridged by a Class 93 locomotive working in a diesel hybrid mode?

Stadler have not confirmed the size of the battery, but have said that it can provide 400 kW of power, which gives a maximum of 1.3 MW, when the batteries are working as afterburners for the diesel engine!

If the article in Rail Engineer is correct, I feel there is a high chance, that a Class 93 locomotive can bridge these gaps, with a load of 1500 tonnes in tow.

It is worth looking at current timings between Haughley Junction and Ely, when hauled by a Class 66 locomotive.

  • The distance is around 40 mph
  • The time taken is around an hour.
  • A Class 66 locomotive would put 2.2 MW at the rail.

This locomotive could need up to 2.2 MWh to bridge the gap.

But I don’t believe that a forty mile gap will be impossible for a Class 93 locomotive.

  • Stadler will have all the performance data of the bi-mode Class 88 locomotive to draw on.
  • The Class 93 locomotive has regenerative braking to help charge the batteries at any stops.
  • Several of the large electrification gaps on the UK rail network are in the flat lands of East Anglia and Lincolnshire.
  • Modern control systems would be able to eke out the power of the batteries.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Stadler have had an objective to design a locomotive that can perform like a Class 66 locomotive for two hours.

Conclusion

If Stadler get the specification, performance and reliability of this locomotive right, they will sell a lot of locomotives for operations like these! And not just in the UK!

 

 

January 16, 2021 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. […] The first Class 73 locomotives have now been ordered by Rail Operations Group (UK), and I wrote about the order in Trimode Class 93 Locomotives Ordered By Rail Operations (UK). […]

    Pingback by Rail Access To The Port Of Felixstowe « The Anonymous Widower | January 16, 2021 | Reply

  2. The increasing availability of multi mode locos presumably will make less expensive part electrification of some of the gaps more attractive to extend time off diesel and on battery where available.

    Comment by MilesT | January 17, 2021 | Reply

  3. I can see some innovative junctions being created, where electrification starts and finishes.

    There must be tremendous possibilities at Haughley and Werrington Junctions, and Ely to take trains smartly through the junctions and send, them on their way with full batteries.

    All have modern electrification, hopefully with a strong power supply, so how far could the electrification be continued on the lines without electrification?

    Given that the pantographs on the Class 93 locomotives, will have all the alacrity and speed to go up and down like a whore’s drawers, I’m sure there will be many places on the network to top up the batteries.

    As the trains move away from Ely towards Peterborough say, they will have a battery containing enough energy to get them to forty mph. Once rolling along at forty, the Cat would take them to the East Coast Main Line, where they would arrive with an almost flat battery. It would then be a case of pan up and on to Peterborough. Peterborough and Ely are thirty miles apart.

    Comment by AnonW | January 17, 2021 | Reply

  4. […] Trimode Class 93 Locomotives Ordered By Rail Operations (UK), I calculated that the 80 kWh batteries in a Class 93 locomotive hauling a 1500 tonne load can […]

    Pingback by A Class 93 Locomotive Hauling A 1500 Tonne Train Between The Port Of Felixstowe And Nuneaton « The Anonymous Widower | January 17, 2021 | Reply


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